While high winds, rain and a dust-storm combined to create a trifecta of unpleasantness at Seoul Race Park this afternoon, Khanui Jeguk kept up his 100% start to 2010 with an impressive win in the feature race.
The four-year old was sent off as favourite for the ten furlong handicap and, under Ham Wan Sik, he took an early lead and always kept his rivals at arm’s length to take victory by a length and a half. Bungjeongmalli and Machine Gun filled out the placings.
Underperforming in the really big races in 2009 – the Derby, Minister’s Cup and President’s Cup – Khanui Jeguk did manage to land the Ilgan Sports. Winning on his season debut last month he looked much improved from last year and today’s performance confirmed that he is likely to be involved in some of the bigger prizes later in the year.
Generally the only punters who have to go outside on miserable days like today are those who have plenty of respiratory problems already. Today those gents suffered even more for their cigarettes as a dust-storm swept in from China coating both surfaces and lungs in a fine yellow film of dirt and chemicals. Just as we had finally gotten rid of the snow, the phenomenon known as “yellow-dust” was making its first appearance of the year.
If it was awful in the stands, it must have been ten times worse on the track Just plain dismal weather had made it seem like night-time at lunchtime even before the dust hit. There were wins for useful looking fillies Secret Woman and Cheonun while Australian-bred three-year old Emperor Cugat looks to be getting better with every run. Today the colt saw off a class 2 field by six lengths to take his second win of 2010.
Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow and at the moment the forecast is for much of the same. Yellow-dust is notoriously difficult to predict though so we may get lucky. On the track, Bally Brae is set to be the star attraction at Seoul while Sangseung Ilro, last year’s KRA Cup Mile and Derby winner is considered doubtful to start in the main event at Busan. That leaves the Busan Ilbo Cup, which pits some of the track’s up and coming imports against one another, as the big race.